Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek has revealed he has been forced to learn how to walk again after suffering an Achilles injury at the end of last season.
The incident took place during the Blues’ end-of-season friendly against the New England Revolution, which ruled him out of the Europa League final meeting with Arsenal and the start of the current campaign.
It has been a long five months for Loftus-Cheek since suffering the injury, and the England international has opened up on the full extent of the problem.
“I’ve had to learn to walk again,” he told Wow Hydrate. “As soon as I came out of my cast, I could barely lift my heel off the ground in a sitting position.
“When it happened I turned and pushed off and I heard a clap, it was really loud and I thought someone had smashed me from behind. The referee gave a free kick, he blew the whistle so he must have been close to me, but watching the tape back nobody was near me.
"To lift my leg up took maximum effort. With a big injury it’s really hard, you don’t see a difference every day, you don’t wake up and think it’s a lot better every morning, it’s over a period of time. It’s more exciting the closer I get to making my comeback, the more I keep pushing. I will be there soon.”
The timing of the Achilles injury has proved especially unfortunate for Loftus-Cheek after a superb 2018-19 season when he played 40 games for the Blues in all competitions, his highest tally to date.
The 23-year-old also registered 10 goals last term, the most he has ever managed in a single campaign.
Unsurprisingly, given the new youthful look to this Chelsea side, Loftus-Cheek is looking forward to returning to the team, but he admitted the mental aspect of recovering from a long-term injury can be especially tough.
“The big side of injuries is the mental side of it, so I had to stay positive and keep the right mindset. Even a tweet or a message from a fan makes a big difference to me,” he said.
“To be honest I didn’t leave my house much, especially as I’ve been on crutches. I’ve just been playing on my Xbox. I’ve been on holiday once, it wasn’t great as my leg was in the cast so I couldn’t swim and it was really warm.
“I’ve been at home with my mum, two brothers and my sister, they needed to look after me a lot. It was hard getting around in my cast. It was quite fun getting my sister to make me food all the time," he said with a laugh.
"My family have been fantastic through that period," Loftus-Cheek continued.
“When you have a good day you get excited, getting that much closer to getting back on the pitch again playing football, getting back in the gym and pushing it, so we will see how it goes.
“I’ve actually had a few setbacks that have put me behind which has been quite frustrating to be honest.
“Before I got injured I was playing my best football. I’ve missed feeling tired from running, from hard work, that feeling of being in a game again.
“I’ve only just got pain free but for sure I’m going to come back stronger, sharper and do whatever I can to be in better shape.”